Unsuccessful English writer Henry’s novel sells to no one. But when his book is suddenly a surprise hit in Mexico, his publicist insists he travel there on a promotional tour. Upon arrival, a confused Henry discovers the reason behind his novel’s popularity – Mexican translator Maria has rewritten his dull book into a steamy erotic novel. As tempers flare between them, the sparks begin to fly.

I have a teensy crush on Sam Claflin but even my fondness for his blue puppy eyes could not save Book of Love. Book of Love relies on very tired stereotypes and so would like to inform you that White Englishmen are stuffy and repressed while Mexican women are fiery and in touch with their sexuality and gay men are funny and Mexican men are afraid of looking vulnerable.

Book of Love is formulaic, which is usually fine in a rom-com as far as I’m concerned. But there is a “Henry learns to use social media” montage and a travel montage and a writing together montage and a writing solo montage. No one needs this many montages, people, even in a rom-com.

The characters and story are bland. Things that should be actual conflicts evaporate and are replaced with ridiculous conflicts. For a movie that is at least somewhat about celebrating sex, the actual sex is surprisingly coy. Even the end is boring despite taking a telenovela turn.

BUT, I admit to watching at least two scenes that made me laugh out loud. I enjoyed the dynamic between Henry and Maria’s son. I appreciated the fact that when people talk to each other in Spanish in the movie, they speak Spanish (there are subtitles). I was pleased that the movie falls consistently on the side of romance as a genre although given that the entire plot revolves around Maria turning Henry’s book into a romance novel, I am BAFFLED by the fact that the phrase “romance novel” is never uttered in the movie.

This is an hour and forty-six minutes I’ll never get back, not counting the minutes in which I actually laughed. It’s boring, it relies on broad, tired, and offensive stereotypes, and is ultimately bland and forgettable. Skip it. It’s not worth the popcorn.

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